Local fish farms okay with new DFO regulations

Salmon farming companies on Vancouver Island's West Coast say they do not have any qualms with the regulation of aquaculture's recent change of hands from the province to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

"We think the regulation change will be [a] positive step forward for us and the industry," wrote Tim Rundle, general manager of Creative Salmon, in an email.

While the province continues to play a role in licencing, tenures, and business management within provincial health and safety guidelines, DFO is now responsible for overseeing fish health, sea lice levels, production volumes, fish containment and waste management.

Rundle doesn't expect the regulatory change to affect daily operations, although DFO guidelines call for more frequency of data reporting and transparency of information.

"What we will see is an increase in the frequency and scope of regulatory reporting to DFO with the expectation that the majority of this reported data will become public," said Rundle.

"The DFO is going to be reporting a lot of information on their website and that's information that's been provided to the province in the past," said Grant Warkentin, communications officer for Mainstream Canada, which operates 16 farm sites on the West Coast.

DFO took over responsibility of overseeing aquaculture in B.C. from the provincial government on December 18, 2010.

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